Eight new youngsters will join Connacht Rugby’s academy next season, including current Irish u-20 player, David Panter, who is currently involved in the World Cup in France.
English-born backrow forward Panter, who plays with Corinthians, will be joined by James Connolly (back row ), Conor Kindregan (lock ), Rory Moloney (back row ), Saba Meunargia (tight-head prop ), Sean O'Brien (back row/lock ), Rory Parata (centre ), and Jacob Walsh (loose-head prop ).
Their recruitment to Nigel Carolan’s academy follows the promotion of five youngsters into the professional ranks for next season, including Robbie Henshaw and Kieran Marmion, currently on tour with the Ireland senior squad, and Aaron Conneely (back row ), Dave Heffernan (hooker ) and Danny Qualter (lock ).
Nigel Carolan says the new crop of players have proven they are deserving of a place in the academy.
“We now have a duty to do everything we can to develop these young men and help them reach their full potential.
"We had a good year with the Connacht Academy. Obviously the rapid progression of Robbie and Kieran to the senior team was fantastic. But we also had our first year in the British & Irish Cup competition and we took a lot from that. It was great to have our young players involved with the Connacht Eagles team and to gain that invaluable experience against quality opposition.
"Next year Connacht will once again compete in the Heineken and B&I cup and with the demands of the Rabo, we need depth in our squad. I'm very much looking forward to seeing what we can do with our new blend of signings."